While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Former Longhorn softball great Cat Osterman adamantly pushes for the return of softball to the Olympics, which recently announced wrestlers will no longer compete, pending a final decision in September. Osterman, who earned gold and silver Olympic medals in 2004 and 2008, will join Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams and five other inductees into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on Monday night. “The Olympics were our main stage,” she said. “They’re hurting sports by voting out the ones that really want and need the Olympics. They’re trying to fit in sports that are more European, but they’re hurting the rest of the world and a lot of athletes globally.”
2. C.J. Hinojosa’s nickname? “ ‘Jally, because I’m Hispanic and, well, I do like ’em (jalapenos).” He’s the Longhorns’ new shortstop. Coach Augie Garrido, calls him an “old soul.” I guess. Hinojosa said his role model is the Yankees’ shortstop. No, not that one. He admires 5-foot-6-inch Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto, who played slightly before Hinojosa’s time, helped win seven World Series and was nicknamed “The Scooter.” Hinojosa wrote a biography on Rizzuto in high school and got an A. Yes, he has three errors, but he’s hitting .545 and answers tough questions like a standup guy.
3. I can’t see Jadeveon Clowney sitting out an entire college football season at South Carolina so as not to get hurt and risk his high NFL draft status in 2014. I think he’s too competitive to do that. What happened to trying to win a championship for your school? Besides, he’d be branded as selfish, and general managers would be so turned off by the selfish act that the defensive end would fall to, uh, the second pick. Maybe. Still wish football and basketball would operate by the same rules as baseball. Allow anyone good enough to sign out of high school. You pick college, you stay a minimum of three years. If you don’t want to be in college, don’t go. And maybe make classes optional. Oh, that’s right, some of you still think college sports aren’t a business.
4. I just don’t get the proposed college football rule change that would call for an automatic ejection of a player for “targeting and making contact above the shoulder of a defenseless player.” Just try to get 200 referees to have the same interpretation of that rule. Way too harsh. Voting comes in March.
5. I don’t carry the water of DeLoss Dodds, and I have no idea why the Texas athletic director singled out Missouri as a point of comparison for his Longhorns. Yes, I know the Tigers won the last football game between the two — Texas fans will forever toast Justin Tucker — but Dodds was right. Texas has won four national championships in football to Missouri’s zero and six College World Series titles to Missouri’s one in 1954, and the Horns have been to three Final Fours to Missouri’s none. So technically, Dodds had a point. But don’t look for Texas to change its slogan to At Least We’re Better Than Missouri.
6. Not all basketball news here is bad. For the first time since joining the American Southwest Conference, both Concordia’s men’s and women’s basketball teams have qualified for the conference tournament in the same season. Stan Bonewitz’s 20-5 men, who play at UT-Dallas on Friday, average 97 points a game (second-highest in the nation in Division III), Nick Haynes has sunk the 10th-most threes in the country, and Dwayne Patterson has 10 double-doubles. The Concordia women, who go to Howard Payne, are 17-8 after losing eight of last year’s top nine scorers. Brianna Smith has hit 40 percent from behind the line.
7. In the Good Longhorn News Dept. — yes, there is some — former Texas running back/defensive end Henry Melton is about to cash in big-time. Great for him. The Chicago Bears might apply the franchise tag to the Pro Bowler, who’s had 13 sacks in the past two seasons. Elite defensive tackles can get $10 million annually. Melton’s salary last year? A paltry (by NFL standards) $565,000. Are you paying attention, Chris Whaley? Melton told the Chicago Tribune, “There is not another better D-tackle in the league than myself.”
8. If Myck Kabongo were really all about the team, no better way for the silent point guard to express it than announce his return for next season as a junior instead of leaving for the NBA, right? … An example of the age gap between Rick Barnes and his players. Barnes, a big Yankees fan, told freshman point guard Javan Felix that the young Longhorn reminded him a lot of Yogi Berra. Responded Felix, “I’m not a cartoon character.” … Burn the black unis, OK, Rick?
9. Here are my picks for the Oscars: “Lincoln” over “Argo,” Daniel Day-Lewis over Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence over actual winner Jessica Chastain, Steven Spielberg for best director because he is, comic genius Alan Arkin over Tommy Lee Jones for supporting actor and Anne Hathaway for supporting actress even if she only sang “I Dreamed a Dream.” I wish they’d hand out Oscars for Best Drama and Best Comedy separately and a Best Overall.
10. One crazy prediction: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will leave school early after 2013 and be drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.